Multi-layer thin-film electrolytes for metal supported solid oxide fuel cells
A key to the development of metal-supported solid oxide fuel cells (MSCs) is the manufacturing of gas-tight thin-film electrolytes, which separate the cathode from the anode. This paper focuses the electrolyte manufacturing on the basis of 8YSZ (8 mol.-% Y2O3 stabilized ZrO2). The electrolyte layers are applied by a physical vapor deposition (PVD) gas flow sputtering (GFS) process. The gas-tightness of the electrolyte is significantly improved when sequential oxidic and metallic thin-film multi-layers are deposited, which interrupt the columnar grain structure of single-layer electrolytes. Such electrolytes with two or eight oxide/metal layers and a total thickness of about 4 m obtain leakage rates of less than 3 × 10 -4 hPa dm3 s-1 cm-2 (p: 100 hPa) at room temperature and therefore fulfill the gas tightness requirements. They are also highly tolerant with respect to surface flaws and particulate impurities which can be present on the graded anode underground. MSC cell tests with double-layer and multilayer electrolytes feature high power densities more than 1.4 W cm-2 at 850 C and underline the high potential of MSC cells.